When returning from a trip I get a lot of questions, but this time someone asked me how was the food in Jordan? Which I thought was interesting, as I asked myself the same question before I left. Jordan was my first Middle-Eastern destination, so I wasn`t quite sure what to expect.
Eating is a true celebration in Jordan, every meal is a feast. Several dishes are being served and I can tell you, your taste buds are in for a treat. (And you might want to take a bigger size of clothing too!)
Mezze are appetizers and the first time they served all these dishes I thought that was the whole meal. Wrong! They are just the starters before the main course gets served. A few examples are Hummus, which are cooked, mashed chickpeas with a touch of tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic. Then there is Falafel, deep fried little balls made from spiced mashed chickpeas. And so many more, further down the story I`ll show you what we made at Petra Kitchen. So don`t fill up on just the appetizers, because there is more to come.
A traditional Jordanian and also the national dish of Jordan is Mansaf. This dish is made of lamb cooked in a sauce of yoghurt and usually served on a tray with rice, garnished with almonds and pine nuts. Before eating it, you pour the sauce all over the dish.
What I loved most was the bread. These two were my favorites: Khubz (looks like Pita bread), flat and round bread and Shrak, which is the traditional Jordanian bread thrown to great thinness before being tossed on to a hot iron griddle (a Saj), that`s shaped like an inverted wok.
I had the opportunity to cook up a whole meal at Petra Kitchen together with a small group.
Chef Tariq Nawafleh teaching us about the spices
On the menu that evening:
Soup: Shourbat Adas (Lentil Soup)
Cold Mezza: Baba Ganuj – Salatat Khodra bil Tahina (Tahina Salad) – Salatat Khyar (Cucumber and Yoghurt Salad)
Hot Mezza: Araies lahma (Bedouin Pizza) – Galaya Bandura
Main course: Kabsah dijaj (Rice with chicken)
I want to share the recipe of the dish I liked the best, which was Araies lahma (Bedouin Pizza)
1 lb (1/2kg) ground meat
1 medium-sized onion
1/2 cup olive oil
1 green chili pepper
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
flat bread (pita)
1 teaspoon cumin
• Mix the meat with chopped tomatoes and onion in a blender or food processor • Add salt, minced chili, crushed garlic and cumin to ground meat and mix well • Cut each round of pita bread into two pockets. Stuff each pocket with a thin layer of the meat mixture • Paint bread with olive oil and arrange in baking dish • Bake in 180 degrees Celsius oven for 7 minutes. Turn the pieces and continue baking another 5 minutes • Serve hot from oven
If you want to do experience this yourself, they offer room for groups from 1 to 50 people and cook mostly Jordanian and Middle Eastern food. More info: website
The last evening of my trip we got invited by Maria Haddad at Beit Sitti. Maria started her cooking classes to show people how to make Jordanian food. It started out for tourists, but now she says she has a lot of Jordanians coming to her classes to learn how to make traditional dishes.
She welcomes you in to her house and kitchen to teach you in an informal way how to make classic recipes of the Jordanian cuisine. This is definitely a cooking experience I would recommend while in Amman. Check out her website for more info.
I was invited by the Jordan Tourism Board on this trip, however all opinions are my own. Special thanks to Nikon for letting me test the Nikon D7000 and the AF-S DX Nikkor 18-200 mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED VRII camera lens.